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Petronillus

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About Petronillus

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Glen Ellyn, Illinois
  • Interests
    social (non-competitive) ballroom dancing, mystery novels
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America Line
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    The on-board thermal suite at the spa on cold-weather cruises (Alaska, northern Europe, Baltic Sea)

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  1. Many thanks! We've booked with the Banks Mansion. It's pricey, but then again, it's likely our only visit to Amsterdam. YOLO -- at least on this side of the grave.
  2. DW & I and two close friends are booked on 2-week the Rotterdam Baltic Sea cruise out of Amsterdam on September 7. DW & I are flying in on the 5th in the hopes of shaking off the effects of jet lag before sailaway. At this point in our lives this is likely the last chance DW & I will take to experience Amsterdam. Having checked other threads on CC, I see strong recommendations for the Park Plaza Victoria and for the Renaissance on Kattegat. They seem to be well situated relative to the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House, which is my primary criterion. But I figure that my friends on CC (and particularly the HAL board) have other gems you'd be willing to share. What do you say? After an overnight flight from Chicago, we'll have about 1.75 days (2 overnights) to take in Amsterdam. What do you think would be our best base of operations until we report for boarding on the 7th? I don't want to say that price is no object, but it's not my number 1 consideration. As always, thanks in advance!
  3. Yes, but that's precisely the reference to the Battle of the Boyne (subjugation of the Irish at the hands of troops loyal to the English king, William of Orange) that continues to stir up sectarian resentments in Ireland, particularly among the Catholics of Northern Ireland. I'm just saying that from a marketing perspective, it's an unfortunate choice on HAL's part.
  4. Just got back from 11 days on the Koningsdam. The Club Orange looked underutilized. We were in a "Vista" suite, thus did not qualify for using it. Sour grapes, perhaps, but I didn't feel that we were missing out on much. I have to wonder about the choice of the name Club "Orange." If I were Irish, I might take it as an ethnic affront.
  5. Gosh, Suzy! I should have known you'd be on top of it! Thanks. It's great to think we'll be out of the grip of an awful Chicago winter in a couple days' time.
  6. What number can we give our family to use for calling HAL in the event of an emergency, i.e., if they need to get word to us while we are on board and underway?
  7. I am grateful for all the guidance. Based on your collective input, I'm inclined to go with SPB Tours. They offer packages that encompass almost all the other ports of call on our cruise. I was particularly struck by the negative reviews I read on TripAdvisor.com. First, that there were so few of them. And secondly, SPB took all of the complaints seriously and, it appears, bent over backwards in each case to make things right. Thanks to you all!
  8. DW & I are booked in the 14-day Baltic cruise in September of this year. We are traveling with another couple, although we are not constrained to book all shore excursions with them; for an attractive enough package we could be a party of four, or DW & I could go off on our own as a party of two. Our itinerary includes two days in St. Petersburg (Russia, not Florida!), scheduled to start at 7:00 am on Friday and to end at 6:00 pm on Saturday. The Russian visa, which is both expensive and complicated to obtain, is required but "waived" if a two-day shore excursion is booked through the cruise line or directly with a state-approved tour operator. In other words, Mother Russia discourages tourists from wandering around on their own and encourages them to submit to the watchful eyes of a selected minder. My chief objective in this connection is to spend as much time as I desire in the Hermitage viewing as much of the collection as I desire and at the pace I desire. Sure, we can take a whirlwind tour of other "must see" attractions but I absolutely do not want to be rushed through the Hermitage or to miss parts of the collection that I am keen to see and see at my leisure. Here's where I turn to the vast wisdom and experience of the CC community: does anyone out there in CC-land know about (ideally, have firsthand experience with) a reliable and reputable tour operator who will customize a private tour that will serve my needs?
  9. My apologies to despegue. My post was supposed to read as follows: "You, sir, are a throwback to a bygone age. You are a gentleman. If hats were still fashionable menswear, I would doff mine in your honor." Let the record be corrected.
  10. You, sir, are a throwback to a bygone age. If hats were still in fashion, I would doff mine in your honor.
  11. That's new information to me. We're booked on the Koningsdam next month, and the information I've received says that on that new class of HAL ships electric outlets abound in the cabin and so the extension cords/power strips are not needed. In the past we have brought our own without objection or incident, and I believe it was equipped with a surge protector. And once, our cabin steward brought us one.
  12. That's so good to hear. It's a hassle to pack formalwear, but your comments make it seem worthwhile.
  13. By happy coincidence, we're on the same cruise! I'm already a member of our Roll Call. Am so looking forward to meeting you.
  14. I admit it: I'm a fair-weather friend. That is to say, I follow this board only when I'm anticipating a HAL cruise. So, I just learned, incidentally, that while I was away, "formal nights" were done away with in favor of "gala nights." The significance, I further learned, is that gentlemen are no longer expected wear business suit and tie (and, ideally, a tuxedo or other formal wear) for dining in the MDR, much less for the evening's subsequent on-board activities. If I'm understanding correctly, a collared shirt and chinos meet the new standard. Is there more I should know? Formal nights (i.e., with tuxedo, patent leather shoes, and all) was one of the things that, for me, made HAL special. Now would I be a small conspicuous (maybe even ridiculous?) minority if I showed up on "gala nights" decked out in my finery? If this topic has been thoroughly hashed out in another thread, I'd appreciate it if one of you out there in CCland would point me to the relevant posting.
  15. How very sad. I'm sure, though, there are other decks, other than poolside, where one can stretch out on a deck chair in the open air with a good book.
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